It happened again.
Michigan basketball was up by eight at Vanderbilt with less than one minute to play. Then it gave up nine straight points, committed three straight turnovers and was called for a goaltending basket with 13 seconds left.
Even with that, it had the ball down one with 13 seconds to play.
On the final possession, Dug McDaniel couldn't connect on a floater, Hunter Dickinson couldn't get the tip-in to fall and in the end, Michigan collapsed to fall in the second round of the NIT, 66-65, to Vanderbilt.
Michigan's (18-16, 11-9 Big Ten) season is over, after it turned a 12-point first-half deficit into a 10-point second-half lead before, ultimately, another crushing loss.
"We always want to walk away with some learning opportunities from a game like this but unfortunately we can’t play the next game because our season is over," coach Juwan Howard told reporters after the game. "Appreciate the effort from our guys, in particularly in game we lost two of our star players. … Loved how our guys came out and competed.
"But in the end, those possessions, that’s really painful."
Dickinson finished with 21 points and 11 rebounds, and scored 11 straight in the second half for Michigan, to turn a one-point lead into a double-digit advantage. After the game, he didn't have much to say about the final minute.
"We just gave them the game," he said.
McDaniel scored 19, one short of his career high, including 13 in the first half to keep the Wolverines in the game.
Joey Baker added 11 points, Terrance Williams II had six points and five rebounds and Tarris Reed Jr. had five points and six rebounds.
Jett Howard, the team's second-leading scorer (14.2 points per game) who missed the team's NIT-opening win over Toledo, was out with an ankle injury. Kobe Bufkin was out as well after tweaking his ankle in practice Friday, according to ESPN.
Tyrin Lawrence led Vanderbilt with 24 points and nine rebounds. Ezra Manjon scored 17 and Colin Smith scored 11 for the Commodores, who will face the winner of 4-seed UAB and Morehead State in next week's NIT quarterfinal, with a trip to Las Vegas for the national semifinals on the line.
Dickinson awakens in second half
It was a quiet start for Dickinson. He scored the opening bucket, then had nothing for 17 minutes. He made two buckets late in the first half, which seemed to spark his strong final 20 minutes.
The 7-foot-1 center made a left-handed hook out of the break to go up three, then after a Baker spinning layup, Dickinson added a baseline layup to put U-M up one.
Baker got the next five U-M points from the free throw line, while Vanderbilt countered with two Lawrence layups and one Wright free throw to make it 41-40, Michigan, when Dickinson took over.
First, he caught a feed from Williams and threw down the slam. He added a spinning hook shot the next trip down, and caught a tough pass from McDaniel and added another one-handed flip.
Then, it was freshman Youssef Khayat's turn to feed the big man, which Dickinson turned into an and-1 finish. He then added two more free throws to put the Wolverines up 52-42 with 10:52 to play.
"Coach was drawing up some really good sets, putting me in positions," he said. "My teammates were really unselfish in looking for me out there."
A quick collapse
Dickinson didn't score from the floor again, but after three Reed free throws, U-M led 59-51 with 5:08 to play.
Jordan Wright made a layup, then Lawrence scored five straight to get Vanderbilt within five.
Baker and Trey Thomas appeared to exchange 3s, but Baker's was changed to a 2 when replay showed his toe on the line, so a five-point lead was changed to four. Baker and McDaniel added consecutive midrange jumpers to put Michigan up 65-57 with 1:45 to play, but Vanderbilt turned on a full-court press and changed the game.
Lawrence scored five and Manjon scored four as Vanderbilt went on a 9-0 run in 46 seconds to steal the game.
"We turned the ball over — what is it, three straight times? — on just a simple play," Howard said. "One was a pass and the guy mishandled the basketball, the other a crosscourt pass, which was a tough catch for a player, then the other one was another pass.
"Very uncharacteristic for us as a team"
Michigan got off to a quick start, when Dickinson hit the game's opening bucket and the freshman Khayat — who made his first career start and his second appearance in a game since Jan. 1 — nailed his fourth career 3-pointer to go up 5-0.
Vanderbilt took over the next seven minutes, which included a stretch in which it made six straight field goals: a 3-pointer by Smith, a layup and highlight dunk by Lawrence, then eight straight points by Smith on a slashing layup and consecutive 3s from the right corner.
The Commodores held U-M to 0-for-6 shooting with four turnovers during the same time to put together a 17-0 run and go up 17-5 with 12:53 to play in the first half.
But the tandem of McDaniel and Williams got U-M back in the game.
After two misses, Williams tipped in an offensive rebound before McDaniel hit a floater and the ensuing foul shot. Williams added another offensive rebound and tip-in on the ensuing possession, before McDaniel knocked down a midrange jumper off a screen to make it a 9-0 Michigan run and cut Vanderbilt's lead to three.
Vanderbilt's Paul Lewis drained a long ball from the top of the key to put coach Jerry Stackhouse's squad up six, when McDaniel hit consecutive 3-pointers — the first on a pull-up, the next off a handoff from his roommate Reed to tie the game at 20.
Reed provided key minutes early as well, making a putback off a miss to tie the game at 22. He had five rebounds in six first-half minutes. After a high-flying Lawrence and-1 dunk put Vanderbilt up 27-24, Michigan closed the half on a 6-0 run.
Dickinson, who hadn't scored other than the first points of the game, hit consecutive buckets in the lane as he gave U-M a 30-29 lead going into the break, and crossed the 1,600-point benchmark for his career.
All players not named Smith or Lawrence for Vanderbilt combined to go 4-for-15 from the floor for 11 points and three turnovers.
"There’s different emotions going on in your head," Howard said when asked about how to summarize the season. "It’s important for us right now to get dressed, get back home, get a good night's sleep — hopefully we can — and then we talk about (that) when we get back to Ann Arbor."
This article originally appeared on Detroit Free Press: Michigan basketball collapses in NIT loss to Vanderbilt